The body of al-Mashhadani, 29, was found by Iraqi security forces in
Baghdad’s northwestern district of Al-Shoula three days after he was
Al-Mashhadani, a reporter for Saudi Arabia’s daily newspaper Al-Watan,
was abducted on his way home from work between the northwestern Baghdad
districts of Al-Shoula and Al-Ghazaliya, according to CPJ sources.
Colleagues told CPJ that al-Mashhadani was on assignment covering the
Baghdad security plan and its effects on the Mahdi Army, led by radical
Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.
Al-Mashhadani was shot in the
head and chest; his body showed signs of torture and the fingers on his
right hand were broken, according to CPJ sources and the Journalistic
Freedoms Observatory, an Iraqi press freedom organization. His captors
called his family hours after his abduction demanding a ransom, but
there was no further communication, the organization reported.
Mahdi Army had a stronghold in Al-Shoula while the predominantly Sunni
district of Al-Ghazaliya was under the control of the Islamic Army, the
largest Sunni insurgent group.
A colleague told CPJ that
al-Mashhadani reported on the activities of the Islamic Army and other
militias. Al-Mashhadani began work for Al-Watan in October
2006, according to an article published by the paper. He had also
worked as a freelance reporter for the prominent pan-Arab weekly
magazine Al-Watan al-Arabi since 2005